Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Paul and the Gospel of God

I thought about going through the entire book of Romans to really deconstruct everything, but got hung up on the very first verse. Lucky me. The purpose I suppose is to really discover the text and avoid as much as possible reading into Paul what simply isn't there.

Anyway.

These are more musings and scattered thoughts. 

I got hung up on the phrase translated "gospel of God" rendered εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ in the Greek New Testament 2nd Edition. The genitive ending of θεοῦ gives us "of." But, what would be the "gospel of God" according to Paul? It is quite reasonable to assume that the Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ phrase indicates that to whom Paul considers the εὐαγγέλιον to be located in Christ. However, it isn't made explicit in this opening verse.

Thankfully, Paul explains later in v16 that he is not ashamed of this εὐαγγέλιον for (γὰρ seeming to indicate an explanation) it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. Karl Barth says, "the Gospel is not a truth among other truths. Rather, it sets a question-mark against all truths" (1). Barth goes onto say that the resurrection is the δύναμις (power) of God (2).

In short, I think resurrection (ἀναστάσεως) is at the heart of Paul's gospel. Here are the seeds of Paul's εὐαγγέλιον which he explains in 1 Corinthians 15 and elsewhere. The δύναμις of God is shown forth in the resurrection. I think this is why Paul's εὐαγγέλιον ends not with a dead rebel but a magnificent appeal to not only the preeminence of Christ, but also that death itself is nowhere to be seen in 1 Corinthians 15:55. Death has been remade into the image of Jesus, restored beyond the grave.

Of course, this begins with Christology, as Scot McKnight suggests. This also goes far beyond what Paul says in the immediate context and far more beyond anything I am prepared to muse about at this present fading hour.

--Nick

Footnotes:

1. Barth, The Epistle to the Romans pg 35.

2. Ibid.

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